Tom Brady has stuck to his guns. The legendary quarterback succinctly said last February his second retirement would stick. After Brady backtracked on retirement No. 1 in 2022, this season represented the NFL’s first without his involvement since 1999.
The future Hall of Famer’s hometown team was still interested in a partnership during the 2023 offseason, however. The 49ers, who were linked to Brady in multiple offseasons during his final years in the NFL, attempted one last push to sign the seven-time Super Bowl champion. Kyle Shanahan informed Brock Purdy of a Brady pursuit early during the ’23 offseason, which featured San Francisco’s current starter rehabbing his UCL tear.
“That meant so much to me. I remember [Shanahan] saying, if we can get Tom Brady, we’re going to try to get him. And I was like, ‘Yeah, he’s the GOAT. I get it,’” Purdy said, via ESPN.com’s Nick Wagoner. “But something deep down inside me was sort of like, ‘Dude, I just showed you that I can play well in this system. And we were one game away from the Super Bowl.’ … More than anything, I was like, ‘OK, now let’s go.”
John Lynch said last year Brady responded with a thumbs-up emoji after the 49ers GM texted him congratulating him on his career. It certainly appears the 49ers made a more notable effort to convince Brady to come back than it initially appeared.
At the time, the 49ers had Purdy coming off UCL surgery and Trey Lance back after two ankle procedures. The team then gave Sam Darnold a one-year, $4.5MM deal, and that ended up leading Lance out of town via trade. All the while, the only Brady rumors to come out pertained to his status as a Raiders minority owner. That approval process is still on hold, as the 46-year-old retiree prepares to take over as FOX’s lead analyst for the 2024 season.